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Comment: Re: What did you expect? (Score 3, Insightful) 190

by grub (#48903763) Attached to: Google Handed To FBI 3 Wikileaks Staffers' Emails, Digital Data
PGP/GPG is much easier to use these days than it was in the 90's. Plugins exist for many mail clients that do the heavy lifting in the background.

Friends and family are surely tired of my tinfoil hat, they just do not seem to care about their privacy. Many say the "I have nothing to hide" line.

Comment: Not surprised (Score 1) 65

by SWPadnos (#48892575) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

I used to flip through SkyMall just so I could laugh (or cry) at all the stupid things people invented. I couldn't fathom how someone could invent a speaker in the shape of a rock, and then sell it for 3x the price of a normal outdoor speaker. Then there were the pet accessories, tie racks, and a host of other useless crap.

I guess I wasn't alone - people didn't buy enough of it to keep the company alive.

Now I feel better as an inventor of things that can actually be useful.

Comment: Re:The BORG! (Score 1) 265

by DG (#48860983) Attached to: Best Cube?

I'm in a military.

Starfleet - especially the Starfleet of ST2 - is *unquestionably* a military.

Gene said a lot of things, but trek grew well beyond his initial creation and took on a life of its own. You can't argue using dogma.

Comment: Re:instant disqualification (Score 1) 643

by DG (#48860953) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Commodore BASIC, Turbo Pascal, M6800 Assembly (wonderful!), 8088 Assembly (horrible!), C, SQL, M68k Assembly, AREXX, perl, sh, Javascript, Java, php. I've dabbled in others (I can crank out a VB macro if need be), but those are my core fluencies.

The assembly was very useful in learning how the CPU actually works, and proved very useful for understanding industrial/microcontroller stuff later on, but with CPUs these days being vastly more complex than an 8088 or an M6800, I don't know if it could be dumbed down enough. Perhaps on a virtual machine or something?

Turbo Pascal was an absolutely brilliant language to learn on, and it is a shame Pascal seems to have fallen out of favour. It was powerful enough to write workable programs on, but simple enough to keep a new student from wandering off the cliff edge.

If I was teaching, I'd use perl:

- perl supports multiple syntaxes so you can teach the simple stuff in a straightforward manner
- The fact that it identifies variables and in which context they are being used is a brilliant way to help students separate out what bits are variables/arguments and what bits are code
- The C and sh bits are gateways into C and sh - "C lite"
- You can do some really powerful and *useful* programs in perl, which teaches that programming isn't just the creation of monolithic apps, but a *process* that can be used to solve a single specific problem.
- perl has native regular expressions, and teaching pattern matching opens up a whole new world of problem solving techniques

I can see homework like "Take the provided text file, and write a program that takes it as input and prints out the sentence that has the most vowels in it" or "Write a program that prints a list of the songs in your music library, ordered by date of album release". These programs are easy to write in perl, fun, challenging, and *useful*.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"